The satellite power system is assessed in comparison to six alternative technologies. The alternatives are: central-station terrestrial photovoltaic systems, conventional coal-fired power plants, coal-gasification/combined-cycle power plants, light water reactor power plants, liquid-metal fast-breeder reactors, and fusion. The comparison is made regarding issues of cost and performance, health and safety, environmental effects, resources, socio-economic factors, and institutional issues. The criteria for selecting the issues and the alternative technologies are given, and the methodology of the comparison is discussed. Brief descriptions of each of the technologies considered are included.